Australia and South Africa are going to kick start their rivalries on Thursday (1st March), when the Kangaroos visit the Proteas (Durban) for the 1st Test of the four-match Test series. The tour will be an intense and action-packed one, and a lot of heated exchange of words and sledging is being expected as the Australian team have asked for the stump mics to be turned down when the ball is not in play against South Africa.
Why do Australia want the stump mics turned down?
Steve Smith-led Australia will be waiting to take on the South Africa team and maintain their unbeaten record in the country in the post-apartheid era. And the fact that Australia want the stump mics turned down, points to only one fact, that they don’t want the audiences to hear the words that will be used and the things that will be said when the Test series heats up between the two formidable Test teams.
In Australia, Channel 9‘s stump mics are generally turned up and down by the stump mics operator, according to the deliveries being bowled, capturing sound effects as a delivery is sent down, and turning it off in between the deliveries and overs, leaving much room for some harsh unheard sledging between teams.
However, the stump mics are more often than not left on in South Africa, which is why Australia have asked the local broadcaster and match officials, to keep the stump mics closed when the ball is not in play during the 1st Test between South Africa and Australia.
Australia spinner Nathan Lyon excited to set the sledging in motion in Test series against Proteas
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia spinner Nathan Lyon said when asked about the probability of a verbal war against South Africa in the 1st Test,
“What happens on the field stays on the field. We’re all grown men. We compete hard. We know where the line is. We headbutt it probably, but we are not going to go over the line.”
“It’s a mental game as well as a physical game. If something is going to be said, then no doubt it will be said from both camps. I know when I go out to bat I get a warm welcome from most of them. It’s part of the game. It’s Test-match cricket, it’s challenging, it’s competitive, you’re playing for your country. It’s a great battle. We pay the South Africans a lot of respect and I’ve got no doubt that goes both ways.”
“It is going to be one hell of a series and I’m pretty excited about it.”
On the other hand, Steve Smith has already indicated that Australia will be looking to fire up the South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada, who was suspended for abusing Ben Stokes in a Test against England at Lord’s last year.
Looking at the history that Australia have with with stump mics in South Africa, it is not just sledging that the Kangaroos are fond of but also periodic outbursts of frustration, that have often been captured on audio.
‘Pack of dogs’ on the field giving abuses
South Africa supremo AB de Villiers has previously informed that the 2014 series between South Africa and Australia was “the most abuse we’ve got on the cricket field”. On the other hand, captain of the Proteas, Faf du Plessis, described Michael Clarke‘s Australia team as “a pack of dogs” in the field.
Steve Smith ready for the ‘verbal challenge’ against South Africa
When Steve Smith was asked if he would be affected by the verbal exchange from the Proteas, the Australia captain and No.1 Test batsman in the world said,
“If they do, go for it, it doesn’t bother me. A bit of a verbal challenge actually makes me switch on a bit more and gets me in for the fight. So they can go for their lives.”